Monday, April 25, 2005

Disneyland was great - First day(s)

OK...since I got back from the big "D", I've been constantly intending to add a post about it. And failed. So here it is, my quick and cheesy post of our vacation.

The drive down was long, but bearable. The kids were actually very well behaved, due partially (largely) to the portable VCR/TV combo that was blasting the hypnotic images of Spongebob, Kim Possible, Baby Mozart, and Pokemon at them. We made an overnight stop in Vegas (where I broke my angst against slot machines and dropped $5 into a dollar slot and cashed out with $57 a few minutes later...).

We arrived in Anaheim at about 3 PM on Thursday. The kids were uber excited to see the monorail drive by across the street from our hotel. We unpacked the van and caught our breath a touch, and then walked across the street to stretch our legs and get a late lunch in Downtown Disney. The kids' eyes were wide as they saw the Disney signs all around and they got HUGE when we walked up to (and then into) the "World of Disney" store (definitely the biggest Disney store I've been in). It was there that their vocabulary of "I want this" and "Can I have this" began and didn't really let up for a week. However, intermixed with requests for toys, they let out comments like "Look up there, Mickey's riding the bike", or "Look at Goofy over there." They were in awe.

After walking around Downtown Disney a little more, we went back to the hotel, got ourselves some dinner and then relaxed, ready for our early morning of non-stop Disney fun.

Friday, we walked across Downtown Disney and into Goofy's kitchen at the Disneyland hotel. While waiting for our table, the kids posed in an Autopia car and stood with Chef Pluto. Then, we filled plates from the buffet and they actually ate for about 5 minutes...until the first characters showed up at our table. They were giggly, bouncey bundles of excitement that refused to eat anything after that. They got their autograph books signed and their pictures taken with 6 or 8 characters ranging from Chip, Dale and Goofy, to Genie and Baloo.

After breakfast, we walked back down the street (and strangely I ran into a co-worker as we did...hi Cameron) and plopped ourselves through the main gate. Andrew was very excited to see "Mickey flowers" there in front of the train station. As we passed through the tunnel to Main Street, we ran into Alice, Tweedle Dee & Dum and the Mad Hatter. They (the characters) had a riot playing with the leashes we had on the boys. Julia wasn't sure what to make of the characters, but the boys thought they were great.

We sauntered down Main Street to the castle. You should've heard the excitement from the boys. They were so thrilled at the castle that they forgot most of their plans (prior to coming, Jason had looked through maps with me and had planned himself an itinerary...Matterhorn, then Indiana Jones, then Haunted Mansion...). We walked through the castle gates and their eyes lit up as they took in Fantasyland.

We tried first (silly us) to go onto the Snow White ride (the ride name includes the words "Scary Adventures"). The queue goes through the castle walls into what seems to be a cavernous entrance...combine that cave-like darkness with ominous audio track, and the boys turned around as we put our first steps inside the wall. From there, we stepped over to Pinocchio's Daring Journey...The queue itself went a little better (they were still a little uncertain since it's kind of dark too)...and once we got inside things were first. They recognized the images from the movie, but the darkness and the loud audio was a little too much for Andrew and he spent a lot of the ride whimpering. :(

So, our next stop, once we got out, was the Carousel. They'd ridden the Merry-Go-Round at Lagoon, so they knew we weren't trying to trick them on this one. Everybody had fun. Julia was up on her own horse and was giggling like crazy as the horse went up and down and she felt the wind in her face.

Next stop was just behind the carousel onto the Dumbo ride. This quickly became Andrew's favorite and honestly I think we rode it 20 times during our stay. We rode it two or three times right then. After convincing Andrew that there was more to see, we wandered down the bend and hopped into a giant teacup. Everybody thought this was a riot and we all rode it a couple of times as well.

One thing of note here...the weather for this first day (and the day before and the next day or so to come) was kind of dreary. The sky was overcast and it even rained a little bit here and there (only once or twice did we have any real downpour). At first this might seem like a bummer...but it seemed to keep people away and keep the lines we found out when the nice warm sunny Monday appeared and the place was packed. This first day we just cruised through the Fantasyland lines...the waits on Monday morning were huge in comparison.

Anyway, after the teacups, we headed towards Tomorrowland. Our maps let us know that the Buzz Lightyear ride had just opened and the boys were excited to try it out. As we walked, we crossed Ariel's grotto and got a photo with her and an autograph. We rounded the bend to see a HUGE line for Buzz and we were glad that it had a FastPass available. So, we grabbed our FastPass and then circled around. We made a brief pit stop in the "Little Green Men" shop full of all sorts of Buzz and alien style toys. Then we dragged the kids away to explore tomorrowland.

We ran into "Push", the robotic trash can. I don't know where the controller watches from, but basically he's a trash can that looks just like the rest of the outdoor cans in Tomorrowland, but he's on wheels and he wanders around the street. He'll talk to you and carries on a complete conversation, making fun of your clothes...telling you to stuff like that. He was pretty funny.

We rounded a bend and stopped by Club Buzz just in time for the Buzz Lightyear show. They became honorary Space Rangers (or was it Cadet...I forget) and had a ball singing and clapping along with Starla and helping save Buzz from Zurg.

However, as we went back for our Fast Pass entry to the Buzz ride, they were a little less sure. We stepped into the hallway (that got darker as you walked) and saw a giant picture of Zurg on the wall...sound effects blaring through the speakers, and Jason was immediately ready to go. He and I backed out and he whimpered near the entrance where the Disney employee and a handfull of guests tried to convince him it was fun. Finally, we wandered into the LGM shop and waited. A couple of minutes later, Lynette came out with Andrew and Julia. They had apparently gotten up to the cars themselves, but the darkness and the audio was too much and they backed out as well.

So, we circled around to the backside of Tomorrowland and grabbed some lunch to eat near the base of the Matterhorn. While the boys at their nuggets and mini corn dogs, Mickey scaled the Matterhorn to plant his flag on the top. The kids thought it was great to watch him.

About this time, we headed back to the hotel for a little nap time and to let the overstimulated kids catch a break. (On the way, of course, we caught another ride on Dumbo...or two...and the teacups).

This post is I'll break this into multiple posts and call this the "Day 1" post.


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